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How to Care for Tobacco Plants

tobacco plants image by OMKAR A.V from

Tobacco plants (Nicotiana) come in many different species, most of which are used for making pipe and cigarette tobacco from the dried, cured leaves. Most tobacco plants grow to about 3 feet tall and wide, with white, aromatic flowers that bloom in summer. Tobacco plants are easy to grow, often started from seeds, and enjoy warm temperatures of around 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Tobacco plants require lots of nutrients and water throughout the spring and summer in order to grow properly. Keep in mind that all parts of the tobacco plant are poisonous, so use caution when handling.

Plant your tobacco in full to partial sunlight. Select a planting site that has well-draining soil and space the tobacco plants about 2 to 3 feet apart in rows spaced 3 ½ to 4 feet apart.

Water your newly transplanted tobacco plants deeply and thoroughly every evening in the absence of rainfall during the first week. Afterward, water the tobacco plants deeply two or three times each week to supplement rainfall and to keep the soil thoroughly moistened down to the roots. Don’t allow the soil to dry out.

Feed your tobacco plants once each month during the spring and summer with an all-purpose garden fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and potash (potassium). Follow the dosage directions on the fertilizer package.

Hoe away all weeds once every two to four weeks. Keep the soil around the tobacco plants completely free of weeds, grasses and debris.

Rotate your tobacco plants with other crops to prevent the heavily feeding tobacco plants from depleting the soil nutrients. Plant your tobacco in the same spot for two years, and then avoid planting the tobacco again in the same soil for at least one year.


Harden off your young tobacco plants before planting them in the ground outside. Set the tobacco plants outside in a sunny spot for gradually increasing periods of time each day for about two weeks prior to transplanting them.


Wear gloves and be careful when handling your tobacco plants, because all parts of the plants are poisonous.

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